Brocka was born in San Jose, Nueva Ecija. He directed his first film, Wanted: Perfect Mother, based on The Sound of Music and a local comic serial, in 1970. It won an award for best screenplay at the 1970 Manila Film Festival. Later that year he also won the Citizen’s Council for Mass Media's best-director award for the film Santiago!.
In 1974, Brocka directed Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang (Weighed But Found Wanting), which told the story of a teenager growing up in a small town amid its petty and gross injustices. It was a box-office hit, and earned Brocka another best-director award, this time from the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences (FAMAS).
The following year he directed Maynila: Sa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag (The Claws of Light), which is considered by many critics to be the greatest Philippine film ever made - including British film critic and historian Derek Malcolm . The film tells the allegorical tale of a young provincial named Julio Madiaga who goes to Manila looking for his lost love, Ligaya Paraiso. The episodic plot has him careering from one adventure to another until he finally finds Ligaya. Much of the film's greatness can be traced to the excellent cinematography by Mike de Leon, who would become a great Filipino filmmaker himself.
In 1976, Maynila: Sa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag (The Claws of Light) won the FAMAS awards for best picture, best director, best actor, and best supporting actor.
Insiang (1978) was the first Philippine film ever shown at the Cannes Film Festival. It is considered to be one of Brocka's best films — some say his masterpiece. The film centers on a young woman named Insiang who lives in the infamous Manila slum area, Tondo. It is a Shakespearean tragedy that deals with Insiang's rape by her mother's lover, and her subsequent revenge.
The film Jaguar (1979) was nominated for the Palme d'Or at the 1980 Cannes Film Festival. It won best picture and best director at the 1980 FAMAS Awards. It also...
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